Sea Rocket is a common and distinctive plant found on the drift-line of sandy or shingle beaches and can be found all round the coasts of Scotland and the islands. A favourite of bees and other pollinators for its nectar, it is a pretty sight on the shoreline.
Stems are low-growing, or angled upwards and branched, hairless and fleshy with a slender tap root. Succulent pinnately-lobed leaves alternate up the stems, with longer leaf stalks towards the base of the plant.
The small flowers are purple, mauve or white with 4 petals, and 8-12mm in diameter. Each flower has 6 stamens around a central stigma which becomes a pod-like fruit with a pointed end.
The fruit is walled with a light brown corky substance which doesn’t open, but breaks off and floats away on the high tide to find a distant landing further along the coast. The sea has proved an efficient seed dispersal system for this successful annual.